From Pauses for Pentecost
His appearance was like lightning,
and his clothes were white as snow.
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook
and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid,
for I know that you are looking for Jesus,
who was crucified. He is not here;
he has risen, just as he said.
Thankfully, we are not left alone to roll away those stones that keep us from coming alive again. Our Resurrection story tells us that God sends us an angel to help us move them away. Notice everything that the angel does in our gospel reading. Besides rolling away the stone, the angel also helps the women at the empty tomb to grasp what has happened. The angel explains to them that what Jesus had said to them about his overcoming death has come true. They are indeed witnesses to the good news of the Resurrection. Jesus is alive again!
Let us think a bit more about angels. On the one hand, they sometimes come to us in a very human way. They may come in the form of a loved one with whom we can talk about those stones that harden our hearts, as a good friend who keeps encouraging us to reach out for new life, or as a stranger who enters our life unexpectedly with wisdom and insight that shed light on our darkness. These people act for us as messengers from God who bring resurrection hope into our deadness.
On the other hand, angels from the Lord may come in a more spiritual way. They may appear in a significant dream that lights up an obstacle that prevents us from living fully, in a wide-awake vision that strengthens us to do what we need to do, or in a surprise thought that pops into our minds, suggesting possibilities that we had not thought of before. Sometimes the angel may come to us in the words of a gospel reading like the Eastertide verses we are thinking about now.
However angels of the Resurrection appear to us, they always help us to understand more deeply the good news, just as the angel did with the women at the empty tomb. Jesus is now the Risen One, available and reaching out to each of us in the power of his Spirit, desiring to bring us alive again in a new way!
Ask God to help you become more aware of angels in your life. Reflect on the past day and ask yourself, Was there a moment today when I experienced life and light and hope touching me in my darkness? Thank God for this experience, and be on the lookout for an angelic encounter each day.